Letter from the Chair, Winter 2022

Graphic courtesy of Anne Marie Champagne

Hello to all Culture Section members. We are now at the end of a semester that has found us returning to regular face-to-face interactions with students, colleagues, and friends in our academic worlds. I feel very fortunate to be chairing the Section during these more “normal” times, and planning ASA meetings in person, after the three Past Chairs have dealt with the worst of the pandemic and its attendant disruption and uncertainty.

First, I want to express my gratitude and appreciation to Ann Mische, the Section’s Past Chair, for all the meaningful and spirited work she did to keep the Section active and engaged during a difficult year, and to help advance the Section’s various programs and committees, several of which had only recently been launched, either by Terry McDonnell or Allison Pugh, the Section’s two previous Chairs. The very popular “Culture in Contemporary Life” (CCL) series, created by Terry McDonnell, had another successful run last year (chaired by Yan Long), gathering cultural sociologists to comment on timely and important public issues on panels throughout the year. If you missed these exciting panels on “The Crisis of Masculinity,” “Fake News,” and “Revisiting Cultural Methods to address Racism,” you can find information about them and the recordings here. Ann also did much to build on the equity and diversity initiatives started by Allison, and followed through by Terry with the establishment of the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) committee (chaired by council member Jean Beaman), as well as the successful Culture Section Mentorship Program (chaired by Marshall Taylor) launched by the membership committee under Allison’s leadership, which created “mentoring pods” matching mentors and mentees in small groups who connect throughout the year. We are all grateful to our fantastic COO Clayton Childress, who not only keeps the Section afloat but also moving into new directions. Thanks are also due to our outgoing Council members Nino Bariola, Mariana Craciun, and Mathieu Desan for all their work serving the Section.

I also want to personally thank Ann and Terry for all their help and support onboarding me. Being thrown into this position (like any leadership position in academia) provides fascinating insight into the curious workings of organizations. There is little training for the work involved in leading a Section, so we depend heavily on the generosity of the past Chairs to share information and guidance. Thank you, Ann and Terry!

The ASA annual meeting was in person again this year, three years since our previous in-person meeting, in Summer 2019. Much has happened in the past three years, and even the ASA meeting was not exactly the same as it used to be. Still, it was invigorating to be able to attend all the conference events in person, as well as to see old colleagues and friends and meet new ones. We had a set of fantastic Sociology of Culture Section Sessions, which drew strong attendance and great interest. For those of you who were unable to be there, below is the list of panels held this summer.

Our Section’s many committees have been hard at work planning activities for this academic year. The D&I committee (chaired by council member Jean Beaman) is building on the important work they did last year, and working on new initiatives to gather data on the Section’s diversity and inclusion (beyond the survey theyconducted last year) as well as ways to improve both. Last year, the D&I committee worked collaboratively with the Membership Committee to create the John Mohr Dissertation Improvement Grant Award (committee chaired by Lauren Valentino), which provides support to racially or ethnically under-represented graduate students studying at a public university. There will be a new call for this award in the upcoming year (committee chaired by Craig Rawlings). The Membership Committee (chaired by Marshall Taylor) is also set to build on their fantastic work last year (they created a brilliant matching system to bring together mentors and mentees) to foster stronger mentorship and inclusive culture in our Section. One of the new initiatives planned for this year is a BIPOC Resource Sharing Network.

This year, we created a new committee dedicated to the goal of improving communication with and among Section members and circulating as well as promoting the work done by our Section members. The Communications Committee (chaired by council member Hannah Wohl), subdivided into Social Media and Newsletter subcommittees, has the important task of reviving and invigorating the Culture Section’s social media presence (through Twitter and Facebook), and provide support to the fantastic newsletter editors Manning Zhang, Man Yao, and Elisabeth Trudeau, respectively. Anne Marie Champagne, a member of the Communications Committee, is also our new webmaster and will be updating the Culture Section’s website.

Lastly, when we transitioned to the ASA Connect platform, all the information we had on our website was also posted in the new platform. This was done seamlessly thanks to the generous dedication of Estela Diaz, Jennifer Dudley, and prabdeep kehal.

ASA Annual Meeting 2022

1. The Racial Politics of Culture? Critical Perspectives from Cultural Sociology
Joint session with the Race, Gender, and Class Section
Organizer and Presider: Derron Wallace, Brandeis University

  • From “Critical Race Theory” to CRT: The new front in the American Culture Wars. Yagmur Karakaya, Yale University
  • Stuff White People Like: BDSM, Polyamory, Neo-Paganism, and…Cats. Julie Lynn Fennell, Gallaudet University
  • ‘Decolonising fashion’: Fashion consumption and clothing practices of the South Asian Muslim communities in Glasgow. Rohit K Dasgupta, University of Glasgow; Nazli Alimen, Birmingham City University
  • Examining racialized sentiments towards Muslim women’s dress using social media data. Jessica Stallone, University of Toronto
  • Symbolic Divisions and Symbolic Violence: Multilingual Latina/o Peer Mentors and Racialization of ‘ESL Students.’ Melanie Jones Gast, University of Louisville; James Chisholm, University of Louisville; Yohimar Sivira Gonzalez, University of Louisville

2. International Perspectives in Cultural Sociology
Organizer and Presider/Discussant: Vanina Leschziner, University of Toronto

  • Literary structuralism and transnational politics. Lucile Dumont, EHESS
  • Migrating Artists and Migrating Art: Decentering the Global Art World. Kangsan Lee, New York University; Peggy Levitt, Wellesley College; Chantal Valdivia, Wellesley College
  • Tastes, complex tastes, and meta-tastes. Xiangyu Ma, University of Chicago
  • The Network Structure of Cultural Elements and Organizational Creativity. Hang-Jun Cho, INSEAD; Frederic Clement Godart, INSEAD; Charles Galunic, INSEAD

3. Crisis of Democracy? New Perspectives from Cultural Sociology
Organizer: Ming-Cheng M. Lo, University of CaliforniaDavis
Presider: Stephanie L. Mudge, University of CaliforniaDavis

  • A Cultural Backlash in Europe? Evidence from the European Values Study 19992017. Tim Reeskens, Tilburg University; Quita Muis; Ruud Luijkx, Tilburg University; Inge Sieben
  • Bad Company? Civil Society and Democracy in Comparative Perspective. Andrew P. Davis, North Carolina State University; Yongjun Zhang, Stony Brook University
  • Politics of Nationhood and the Decay of the Media in Turkey. Defne Over, Texas A&M UniversityCollege Station
  • The Dual Legacy of John Locke: Exceptionalism & Racism in America. Chandra Mukerji, University of CaliforniaSan Diego
  • Religious Dissolution and the Crisis of Liberalism: Inside a Christian Brotherhood and a Masonic Lodge. Graham Wilson Hill, University of Bern

4. Culture in a (Post)Pandemic World (Graduate Professionalization Panel)

Organizer: Amy Zhang, George Mason University
Presider: Nino Bariola, The University of Texas at Austin
Panelists: Rachel Skaggs, Ohio State University; Fernando A. Calderón Figueroa, University of Toronto; Vivian Shaw, Vanderbilt University; Brenton David Kalinowski, Rice University

6. Action in Unsettled Times
Organizers: Christina Simko, Williams College; Michael Strand, Brandeis University
Presider and Discussant: Ann Swidler, University of California-Berkeley

  • Repertoires of repair: confronting ontological insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City. Ryan Hagen, Columbia University; Denise Milstein, Columbia University
  • The Domestic Violence Victim as COVID Crisis Figure. Paige L. Sweet, University of MichiganAnn Arbor; Maya Glenn; Jacob Caponi
  • The Meaning of Masks: Tracing Trajectories and Stabilizing the “New Normal.” Terence Emmett McDonnell, University of Notre Dame; Rachel Keynton, University of Notre Dame
  • The Temporal Structure of Capitals: Lessons from the End of Life. Zhuofan Li, University of Arizona; Daniel Dohan, University of California-San Francisco; Corey M. Abramson, University of Arizona
  • Too “Essential” For Domestic Labor? Ambiguous Availability in Essential and Remote Worker Families During COVID-19. Angela Clague, University of CaliforniaLos Angeles

7. Section on Sociology of Culture Roundtables Session Organizers: Gordon Brett, University of Toronto; Martin Lukk, University of Toronto; Taylor Price, University of Toronto

9. Formal Models of Culture
Joint session with the Mathematical Sociology Section
Organizer and Presider: Daniel DellaPosta, Pennsylvania State University

  • Ideological Transformation and Rhetorical Creation of the Market in China’s People’s Daily. Shilin Jia, University of Chicago; Linzhuo Li, University of Chicago
  • Influence and Constraint: A Synthesizing Simulation Model of Cultural Alignment. Austen Mack-Crane, Cornell University; Michael W. Macy, Cornell University
  • Partisan divergence in political discourse in the UK Brexit referendum on Twitter. Roland Adorjani, University of Bern; Sarah M. G. Otner, Kingston Business School
  • Predictably Unpredictable: The Dynamic Constraint of Cultural Belief Systems. Kevin Kiley, North Carolina State University
  • The shape of formative periods and the rhythm of cultural change. Nicholas Restrepo Ochoa
“Culture in Contemporary Life” Series

The “Culture and Contemporary Life” (CCL) series, chaired by Fiona Greenland, has an exciting set of panels planned for this academic year. As in the past, the CCL series will feature cultural sociologists drawing on their expertise to speak to current events and important social issues. The CCL committee has been recruiting panelists and finalizing all dates, with the first session already planned for late January 2023. (For information about the four panels planned, with more details about upcoming sessions forthcoming, click here.)

ASA Annual Meeting 2023

The deadline for submissions for the 2023 ASA conference is coming up (February 22, 2023), and Chair-Elect Monika Krause has put together a fantastic set of panels, so please consider submitting your work to them. Here is the list of sessions and organizers:

    • The Sociology of Art and Art Institutions (Patricia Banks)
    • Cultures of Expertise: Mediating Global Challenges (Monika Krause)
    • Culture and the State (Fiona Greenland)
    • Modeling Cultures (co-sponsored by Sociology of Culture and Mathematical Sociology; Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra and Ronald L. Breiger)
    • Comparative and International Perspectives on Race and Culture (Invited Session, co-sponsored by Sociology of Culture and Race, Gender, Class; Derron Wallace)
    • Section on Sociology of Culture Roundtables (Guillermina Altomonte)

Wishing everyone a happy holiday season, and an excellent year ahead!